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Full text of "The Heritage Lodge no. 730, A.F. & A.M., G.R.C. : proceedings 2001"

^a. 730 S.S.C. 




PROCEEDINGS 



Vol. 24 - 2001 



William C. Thompson 

Worshipful Master 



John F. Sutherland 

Editor 



insiibxieb: »epitmber 21, 1077 
(Honsiibiieh: S^tpUmher 23, 107H 



WILLIAM C. THOMPSON, Worshipful Master 
Little Brittain, Ontario 

SAMUEL FORSYTHE, Secretary 

752 Hampton Court, Pickering, Ontario L1 W 3M3 

Phone (905) 831-2076 Fax (905) 831-7815 

e-mail: sforsythe@sympatico.ca 




JOHN F. SUTHERLAND, Editor 

20 Fairview Crescent, Woodstock, Ont. N4S 6L1 

Phone (519) 537-2927 

e-mail: johnsyl@hotmail.com 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Subject Page 

Preface 

William C. Thompson, Worshipful Master 221 

Annual Heritage Banquet Address 

Heritage in British Columbia 

By C. Grant Wardlaw, P.G.M., B.C 223 

The Life and Times of John Betton Laughton 

By Gene A. Lotz, Windsor 23 1 

The Early Years of St. John's Lodge No. 17 

By Frank C. Shearer, Cobourg 241 

The Origin of Modern Freemasonry 

(The Oldest Masonic Rituals in the World) 

By W.Bro. Robert L. D. Cooper, G.L. of Scotland 255 

Our Departed Brethren 261-2-3 

The Heritage Lodge Past Masters 264 

The Heritage Lodge Officers, Committee Chairmen 265 



DISCLAIMER 

The contributors to these Proceedings are alone 

responsible for the opinions expressed and also 

for the accuracy of the statements made therein, 

and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 

The Heritage Lodge A.F. & A.M., No. 730 G.R.C. 



220 



R.W.Bro. William C. Thompson 
Worshipful Master 



I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the members of 
Heritage Lodge for affording me the privilege to serve as their Worshipful 
Master. It has been a year that I will cherish forever. The Officers and 
Committee Chairman have served their offices with distinction and are to 
be commended for their efforts. 

A special thank-you goes out to our beloved secretary, V. W.Bro. Sam 
Forsythe, he has been the backbone of our lodge for many years. The 
excellent manner in the way he prepares the lodge summons and his firm 
grasp on where the lodge is headed is to be commended. Keep up the 
good work Sam, it is greatly appreciated by all! 

The Annual Banquet continues to be the highlight of the year for The 
Heritage Lodge. I was very pleased when a friend of long standing, 
M. W.Bro. C. Grant Wardlaw, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of 
British Columbia, accepted my invitation to be our guest speaker. His 
presentation on Masonic Heritage in British Columbia was well delivered 
and well received. Everyone in attendance was moved by the introduction 
that his son, W.Bro. Glenn Wardlaw, gave him. It was a very special 
moment for all. 



221 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

The papers that were presented to The Heritage Lodge were also well 
received over the course of the year. As they are listed in the table of 
contents I will not address them here other than to say that they were all 
extremely interesting and timely. The Brethren of Windsor and Cobourg 
were most gracious hosts and their hospitality was greatly appreciated. I 
must mention the tour of the Windsor Museum that was arranged for us. 
W.Bro. Gene A. Lotz had made arrangements with the museum to have a 
Masonic Display in their gallery for approximately three months. The 
content was most interesting, with historical information dating back over 
200 years. 

The William J. Dunlop Award committee was busy this past year. 
They saw fit to make a recommendation to lodge that there was most 
deserving candidate this year. That Brother was in fact the previously 
mentioned W.Bro. Gene A. Lotz. The Award was presented at our 
September 200 1 meeting. Gene was very humble and in his usual style, 
was very gracious in his acceptance speech. 

The Interpreters at Black Creek Pioneer Village are also to be 
congratulated for the time and efforts that they contribute so that the public 
may have a better understanding of our gentle craft. They are, of course, 
under the direction and guidance of R. W.Bro. Bums Anderson, who 
himself, gives so graciously of his time to help us with that long standing 
project. Well done! 

The preparations for our 25'^ anniversary continue to go forward 
under the direction of M. W.Bro. C. Edwin Drew. The date for the 
anniversary meeting has been set for Saturday, September 2 1 , 2002. 1 hope 
that many of you will come out and help your lodge celebrate this 
milestone. Further details will be forth coming in the lodge summons. 

In closing brethren, I again thank you for allowing me to serve as your 
Worshipful Master. It has a most enjoyable year for me and hope that it 
has met with your approval. 

Sincerely and fraternally, 

William C. Thompson (P.G.S.W.) Worshipful Master 



222 



HERITAGE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 

by M.W.Bro. C. Grant Wardlaw 

Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of British Columbia 

Sixteenth Annual Heritage Banquet 

Tuesday, January 30, 2001 

Scarborough Masonic Tennple, Scarborough, Ontario 



Editorial Note: The following paper was transcribed 
from a tape produced at the time of the talk. Therefore, 
errors and /or omissions could be possible. The Editor 

My son and I both looked up the word Heritage, and as he said: What 
has been, can be inherited. 

Prior to my election to the office of Junior Grand Warden, in our 
jurisdiction, I served as the Grand Historian, for a three-year period, 
during that time I came across many interesting items, that I recorded for 
the information of the Masons who would be interested in the History of 
the Lodges in B.C. and Yukon. You will notice that I included the term 
Yukon to the title of our jurisdiction. This became official, as of June 
23rd, 2000. Up until that point in time it never was official although the 
Grand Master visited and they came under our jurisdiction as far as the 
title was concerned. I will refer to the Yukon a little later in my talk. 

To me heritage means history in some form or other. And as I started 
to put my thoughts together for this evening I seem to have difficulty m 
separating heritage from history. To me heritage is all the information we 
gather about our ancestors on the family tree, so some day in the future our 
relations, or our children, will know where they descended from. History 
is similar except it tells us about items and events that happened in the 
past. But I would suggest to you that in most cases history happened 
because people were mvolved. Every Lodge and, yes, every Grand Lodge 
has history because of the actions taken by some very dedicated 
Freemasons. 



223 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

Tonight I would like to tell you about the Heritage or History of some 
of the Lodges in B.C. I hope that you will find it interesting, but first I 
would like to tell you about a little prayer that I saw and, particularly after 
the dinner we had tonight, goes something like this: 

Now I sit me down to sleep 

The speaker 's dull 

The subject 's deep. 

If he should stop before I wake 

Give me a poke 

For goodness sake. 

Every Jurisdiction has brethren who have contributed to our History 
or Heritage. 

Every (B.C.) Grand Master visits every District in the jurisdiction, at 
least once during his term of office. 

As I was travelling as Grand Historian with M.W.Bro. John Loban, 
the Grand Master in 1989, we were in a town called Castlegard,. which is 
up in the Kootenays. We were on the last leg of a four-district swing 
through the southeast comer of B.C. He indicated to us to go see a 100- 
year-old Freemason who was in a rest home there. So off we went with the 
D.D.G.M. of the area. This senior was a retired sea captain, the only help 
he needed was the cane as he walked. We saw his birth certificate which 
showed he was from a small town on the coast of Newfoundland. He told 
us that he only had one complaint with the staff of the rest home: They 
would only give him one tot of rum a day! 

As I was the first to leave the room I met the nurse's aide and she said 
that certificate shows that he is 100 years old. But in fact he is 105 or 6, 
because the children in those days in that location we not registered until 
they started school. 

Let me tell you about three lodges in our jurisdiction, they are all over 
1 00 years they are not in any order of seniority but all have interesting 
histories or heritages. 

North Star Lodge No. 30 

This lodge was formed in the area of B.C. known as East Kootenay, 
geographically it is in the southeast comer of B.C. and the Lodge is 



224 



HERITAGE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 

situated on the junction of the Kootenay River and a tributary known as 
the Wild Horse Creek. In 1 887 Dr. Powell, who had been the First Grand 
Master of B.C. from 1871-3, was appointed Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs. He went to this location to quell an Indian disturbance. To be 
ready for any emergency in the future, he called in a contingent of North 
West Mounted Police. He established the barracks for officers and men 
and those barracks are still there today in this Provincial Park. They were 
under the command of Col. S. D. Steele. The town was established he later 
became known as Fort Steele. 

The Freemasons that made up this little town decided that it was time 
to establish a Lodge like the towns in the surrounding area. They applied 
for the necessary dispensation and the charter was granted June 24th, 
1899. 

One of the reasons that I wanted to tell you about Fort Steele, was the 
makeup of the brethren of that Lodge. According to the research that I did, 
was the fact that most of the brethren who signed the application for the 
dispensation hailed from the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of 
Ontario. They practised the Canadian Work or Ritual of your Grand Lodge 
(Ontario). The city of Cranbrook which is to the south grew faster and 
finally on June 23rd, 1944, North Star Lodge Amalgamated with 
Cranbrook No. 34. Today if you travel between Cranbrook and Golden, 
or in the Fairmont area, you will pass by the Provincial Park, of Fort 
Steele, where is now a reconstructed Lodge Room, it is not large but is on 
the second floor of one of the buildings that is already there. It was 
officially opened by the Grand Master of the day, in September, 1 994. The 
Lodge Room has been furnished and set up as it would have been in that 
time period. All the furniture, the aprons, the collars, are set in or on their 
proper location in the Lodge. Much of the regalia was donated by Lodges 
throughout the province, from storage lockers, where it had been stored. 
It has that look of well- used regalia. The visitors to the area, can see all 
of this through large plate glass windows, set into one wall of the lodge 
room. The ghosts of North Star Lodge, which surely inhabit the restored 
historic town of Fort Steele, must be proud of the faithful and zealous 
service they gave to their beloved craft and the community at its 
beginning. Today Freemasons of the area are in attendance during the 



225 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

holidays and weekends to answer questions about Freemasonry from the 
visitors to this historic site. 

Yukon Lodge No. 45 and Whitehorse Lodge No. 46 

These two Lodges are different because they were really never 
established by the Grand Lodge of British Columbia. They fall into a very 
special class and are considered as such. At the Grand Lodge 
Communication in 1898, the then Grand Master, reported on the 
negotiations between the Grand Lodge of B.C. and the Grand Lodge of 
Manitoba as to the Masonic status of the Yukon Territory. Both 
jurisdictions agreed it was open territory Masonically speaking. History 
does not tell us why, but the Grand Lodge of Manitoba established these 
two Lodges, Yukon Lodge at Dawson and Whitehorse as the name 
implies, at Whitehorse. For a lot of reasons for which do not need to go 
into now these two lodges become part of the Grand Lodge of B.C. in June 
of 1907. As Yukon Lodge had originally received their charter in 
December 27th, 1901, they will be celebrating 100 years at a special 
ceremony and rededication of their Lodge building in May of this year. 
You may wonder why it is not going to be in December, my brethren, any 
of you who have travelled in the Yukon, that is not the time to visit. They 
are going to celebrate this anniversary at a special ceremony of the Grand 
Master and a rededication of their Lodge room. 

There will two Grand Masters there. Our own Grand Master from 
B.C. and the Grand Master of Alaska, because Stagway No. 1 which is 
only two hours away by car from Whitehorse, is also going to be 
celebrating 100 years. So the two Grand Masters will be together 
celebrating these two ftinctions. 

There will be at least 150 Masons travelling by car, RV or flying, so 
when we have all the families there is going to be in excess of about 350 
people. The G.M. of B.C. wanted to have a church service at Dawson, the 
church will not hold 350 people, you might get 125 people in so they may 
have two church services. 

You can now fly into Whitehorse, in about IVi hours as against about 
2/4 days driving. From Whitehorse up to Dawson City is about a six-hour 



226 



HERITAGE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 

drive. 

Dawson City to me is a very special place, imagine a town of wooden 
buildings, which comprises of a government building, housing all of the 
necessary government offices, a school, hospital, a dance hall, and a 
gambling hall, called Diamond Tooth Gerties. At its peak there were about 
7,000 to 8,000 people in its heyday. There are not that many now, but 
there is during the summer season fi-om the 24th of May to about the 1 5th 
of September. There were many one-room buildings and some people 
lived in tents. As you look at the headstones in the cemetery, you do not 
see many beyond 35 or 40 years. Most of them were in their early 20s. It 
was a hard life. 

Today the residents are not allowed to change the outsides of their 
buildings without the approval of the town council. Aluminum as we know 
it today was not in use, there are no aluminum screen doors on any of the 
buildings. They are all made of wood, as they would have been m that 
time period. 

I have great memories of that Yukon territory, which may be 
considered by some, primitive. That is how the Yukon used to be and that 
is how the residents want to keep it. I think that can be truly called 
heritage. 

Yukon Lodge is held in a building they acquired from the Federal 
Government. It was called the Carnegie Library, which had moved to a 
new location, not that many years ago. The building itself is classified as 
heritage as it was built around the turn of the century. The top floor houses 
a lodge room, an ante room and a fairly large storage area. The lower floor 
has a large room for banquets, kitchen and washrooms. 

The peculiar thing about the Yukon is that the foundations are not 
made in concrete, they are made of wood. Wood was easier to get in those 
days than concrete and a new foundation was placed under this building 
this year as the action of the permafrost had played havoc with the old 
foundation. 

They practised the American or the Ancient Ritual of the lodges of 
that period of time, from the goldminers of California and these were the 
people who really started the Lodge up there and the gold mining as well. 



227 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

Let me relate another story in which falls under the title of heritage 
in a slightly different way. I was visiting on a Saturday afternoon in a 
district meeting in the Caribou in an area at Ashcroft very close to Cash 
Creek. I was introduced to a senior member of the host Lodge who was to 
be a part of my suite. 

(In B.C. the Grand Master is preceded into every Lodge fiinction he 
attends by a Senior Brother of the Lodge they are visiting, who has a small 
cushion he carries in both hands. On that book is the Book of Constitution, 
and it reminds the Grand Master as well as all of the brethren assembled, 
that he and all the brethren are governed by that Book Of Constitution.) 

The District Deputy informed me that this senior member was 103 
years old. He walked with the help of a cane. He came to the area with his 
parents at a very young age. Just as we were entering the Lodge Room, he 
had the book m one hand cane m the other, we got to the doorway and the 
cane went beside the door so that he could carry the book in both hands. 
I was a little leery about this, but everything went well. 

As usual there is a dinner after the meeting, and when I retired with 
my suite he came over to me and apologized, for not coming to the dinner. 
He explained that he had made a previous commitment, to attend a 
function at a Legion about 30 miles up the road. He was to be their guest 
of honour at the annual Vimy Remembrance Service. He was one of the 
few Brethren left who had served this country at Vimy Ridge, he was 
apologizing to me at 103 because he could not come to dinner. I hope at 
his age I will be able to attend one function let alone two. To me he was 
an example living history or heritage. 

Caribou No. 4 

The third lodge that I feel falls into the category of heritage and an 
important part of our history in B.C.. It too started in the 1800s. It is 
Caribou No. 4, which is located in the provincial park site at Barkerville. 
In the year of 1 868, on the 24th of June, the inauguration of Caribou No. 
469 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Scotland took place. Before this 
could happen they were told that they must have a building in which to 
hold their meetings. It was estimated that a building would cost $3,300 



228 



HERITAGE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 

they had 33 members who subscribed and each was to be assessed $ 1 00. 
They did collect the money and the hall was built by the 23rd of June 
1867. All of the necessary fiimishings were buih by the brethren, but on 
Sept. 1 6th about one year later disaster struck Barkerville. The whole town 
was destroyed by fire. History tells us that there was only one building left 
standing. This was not going to stop a determined group of Freemasons 
from going to lodge, so they set about to rebuild their lodge hall, which 
they did by Feb. 22th, one year later, in 1869. On December 28th, 1936, 
fire struck again. The present building in use today was built by September 
4th, 1937. 

A unique device in the Lodge Hall is what is regarded as the silent 
Tyler. It was built as a safeguard to their meeting room. At that period in 
time Barkerville contained some very wild men. And some equally wild 
women. The stairs leading to the Lodge Room on the second floor are 
hinged at the top. Ropes are fastened at the bottom of the stairs and there 
is a wheel at the top where the Inner Guard can turn the wheel, raise the 
stairs, and effectively block off any other entrance to the Lodge Room. 
After the brethren had assembled the meeting could proceed without any 
cowans or eavesdroppers and that particular event is still in service today, 
but it is very rarely used. 

B.C. Parks branch of advice of the restoration committee of 
Barkerville restored the outside of the building in 1 966 to its original 
appearance as it looked in 1969. The Brethren of Caribou No. 4 are very 
proud of their building and the building shows their pride, it is well 
maintained and there is always someone there looking after it. 

I think about all the Freemasons, who through their determination and 
hardships, have made it possible for the Freemasons of today to meet in 
this historic Lodge Building with the brethren fi-om all over the continent. 
When the Grand Master goes to his annual meeting up there, is introduced 
and then the brethren all around the room stand up individually and give 
their name, Lodge name and number and where they hail. There always is 
someone fi-om outside of North America. There are many visitors fi-om 
across the 49th parallel and certainly fi-om across Canada. When you look 
at the Porch Book that is kept downstairs in the banquet area for the 



229 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

visiting brethren to sign, there are Hterally hundreds of visiting brethren 
who have taken the time to sign in the summer period, when the park is 
open to the visitors. 

Barkerville is not the easiest place to get to from Vancouver there is 
a 10-hour drive. Go up number 1 Highway branching off onto No. 97 at 
Cash Creek, which then carries on to the Yukon border. Stopping at 
Quinell turn east and travel about 80 km. It is one of the few individual 
lodges the Grand Master visits on his schedule for his year. The weekend 
starts on Friday evening at the Lodge Hall with the Masons and the 
remainder of family members gomg to the community centre at Wells 
which is about 8 km away. When the Masons are through they join up with 
the ladies in a social evening. Most of the visitors stay in the town of 
Wells, with large RV parks and two motels. Saturdays are what we 
referred to as free until 6 o'clock at night, when they have a community 
barbeque. Sunday morning the Masons gather with their regalia outside of 
the lodge hall and with the Grand Master parade two by two down to the 
local church, Samt Saviours. Once the Masons are there it leaves no room 
for the families. After church they parade back and pictures are taken. 

The brethren of this lodge practice the ancient ritual for the same 
reason the members of Yukon Lodge did. Since the first Masons of the 
lodge had come from California. 



230 



THE LIFE AND TIMES OF 
W.Bro. JOHN BETTON LAUGHTON 

by W.Bro. Gene Alfred Lotz 

Windsor Masonic Temple, Windsor, Ontario. 

Saturday, March 31'^ 2001 

In memory of R. W.Bro. Grant Golden, Erie District Historian 



The growth of Freemasonry in Upper Canada, Canada West and 
Ontario has developed over the centuries because of the hard work of 
many untold individuals, who were dedicated to the great principles of our 
fraternity. From Grand Masters who set reforms into motion, within the 
Grand Lodge, District Deputies who kept peace across the jurisdiction and 
Worshipful Masters who managed their Lodges, every one of them in 
some way can take credit for the development of Masonry in Ontario 
today. John Laughton was one such Mason; he never achieved Grand 
Lodge status, but helped shape Masonry in Windsor and Ontario. The 
following is a brief account of his life and times. 

Recently, I was in the Simcoe area, hometown of our first Grand 
Master William Mercer Wilson. Two miles south of Simcoe is St. Johns 
Anglican Church. In this beautiful setting, the church dates back to the 
early pioneer days of our provmce, it is also the final resting place of our 
first Grand Master. Marking the Grand Masters grave is a beautiful granite 
monument, erected in 1922 by the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province 
of Ontario. At the monument's dedication, in 1922, over one thousand 
Masons gathered to honour our first Grand Master. Although he passed 
away in 1875, a wreath was laid at the foot of the monument, with his 
name on it. The monument reads: 

In grateful and loving memory of William Mercer Wilson LLD., the 
first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge ofA.F.& A.M. of Canada, who 
died during his tenth year as Grand Master. Died W^ Jan. A.D. 1875, 
aged 62 years, a just and upright man. 



231 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

It was a solemn experience sharing a few moments in thought, 
recalling the life of William Mercer Wilson. Standing in this beautifiil 
churchyard my thoughts wandered to a modest grave marker in St. Johns 
Church cemetery at Sandwich, that of W.Bro. John Betton Laughton. 

John Laughton was bom in the summer 1790 on Belle Isle on the 
Detroit River; his birth was registered as follows: 

/ do hereby certify, to have christened a male child six weeks old, son 
of Mr. Peter & Catherine Laughton, born the twenty-ninth day of July 
last. The said child named John Betton Laughton, and Walter Roe, of 
Detroit, Esq, and Mrs. Ann Roe, his godfather and godmother. 

Done at Detroit, this sixteenth day of August, one thousand seven 
hundred and ninety (1 790). ' - William Park 

As a child, John lost both his parents and was put under the charge of 
his grandfather. Captain John Laughton Senior. The Sr. Laughton was 
commander of vessels in the Royal Navy on Lake Erie, stationed at 
Detroit. Soon after the British surrendered Detroit, John Laughton Sr. 
moved his family to Stromness Island in Lake St. Clair. With a stock of 
farm animals, the family eked out a living in these turbulent times. 

On September 1 , 1810, Captain Laughton passed away; John was left 
to fend for himself. With the outbreak of the War of 1812, American 
forces imprisoned John, because of his loyalist views and confiscated his 
property. Subsequently, he was released after agreeing to leave the island. 
At the age of 22 John was on his own in a country at war and in chaos. The 
British fortress called Maiden was located at Amherstburg and was the 
centre of activities in the area. It was here that John enlisted in the local 
Militia and put into service, transporting supplies to the British garrisoned 
Forts along the fi'ontier. 

During the War of 1812, John fought in three battles, Long Woods, 
Street's Grove and the Battle of Lundy's Lane. On the evening of July 25, 
1814, British and American forces clashed near Niagara Falls. At the end 
of hostilities, British soldiers and Militiamen suffered 640 casualties, 
American forces suffered 740. As a Militiaman, John Laughton had been 
taken a prisoner of war during the battle. Within months of being trans- 
ferred to a New York State internment camp, John escaped and found his 
way back to Upper Canada. The war lasted several more months and 
ended with the Treaty of Ghent. With the end of the war, life started to 
return to normal. 

The First Provincial Grand Lodge had been at work in Upper Canada 
since 1792 with William Jarvis as Grand Master. Unfortunately, in 1817, 



232 



THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN BETTON LAUGHTON 

Jarvis passed away leaving Masonry in a void. Because of the lack of 
decisive leadership the craft was floundering. 

It was during these dark days for Masonry that John Laughton was 
shown its Great Light. On July 23, 1817, John petitioned Long Point 
Lodge No. 22 in Upper Canada for membership. Two months later on 
September 30'^ he was initiated. On December 17, 1 8 1 7, as the lodge was 
preparing to celebrate St. John's Day, Bro. Laughton along with two other 
Entered Apprentices were passed to the second degree. At the same 
meeting, John was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. 
Obviously Masonic ritual protocol had not been established in the 
Province; receiving two degrees in one day would be unheard of today. 

Shortly after becoming a Master Mason Bro. Laughton became a 
Royal Arch Mason when he joined Hiram Chapter at Ancaster. 

Following the death of William Jarvis, who held the original warrant 
for Upper Canada, a convention met in Kingston. Eleven lodges elected 
a Provincial Grand Master, drafted a letter and sent it to the Grand Lodge 
of England, requesting his confirmation. 

The Convention again met in 1 8 1 9, still with no reply fi'om the Grand 
Lodge. At this time it was decided, the request for an appointment of a 
Provincial Grand Master accompany a draft of 30 pounds sterling to cover 
any expenses. The convention met again in 1 820, still with no response. 

Then at the 1 82 1 Convention, it was resolved that an emissary would 
accompany their request. That emissary was a young war veteran and 
enthusiastic Mason fi-om Sandwich, Bro. John Laughton. 

A letter sent fi'om Josiah Cushman to John Dean, secretary of the 
Kingston Convention describes the character of John Laughton. 

We have thought to recommend to the Secretary of the Grand 
Convention a favourable opportunity of sending a communication to the 
Grand Lodge of England by Companion John B. Laughton, a member of 
Hiram Chapter, Ancaster, who is going immediately to settle some 
important business, and will return in the spring. He is strongly attached 
to the interest of the Grand Convention, and a lover of the fraternity. He 
is willing to pay all possible attention to any instructions he may receive.^ 

Upon his arrival, John went to work, meeting with the Grand 
Secretary. A letter reveals the extent of the task that lay ahead of him. 

/ am sorry to inform you that all the letters and petitions which have 
been sent to the Grand Lodge of England are of no use, as there is not a 
copy of the Grand Warrant to be found. I have waited on the Grand 
Secretary at different times, and he says there can be nothing done for the 



233 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

Craft in that part of the country, as there is not a single return from the 
Grand Lodge of Niagara nor York since the first establishment of the 
same, and having no copy of the warrant they cannot consider us as 
Masons, unless the copy of the warrant can be obtained, whereby they 
may be convinced that the warrant was granted? 

Imagine for a moment Bro. Laughton's shock when told the Grand 
Lodge of England did not recognize the warrant held by William Jarvis. 
On March 2V^ 1822, the Grand Secretary replied to the brethren, the 
Grand Master was authorising a distinguished member of the order, who 
would visit Upper Canada and enquire into what was best for Masonry. In 
June of 1 822, Simon McGillivray was appointed Provincial Grand Master; 
hence the start of the Second Provincial Grand Lodge. 

After Bro. Laughton's European sojourn, he returned to Upper Canada 
and his hometowns of Amherstburg, Detroit and Sandwich. Now a 
seasoned veteran and an overseas diplomat, he settled into life along the 
Detroit River. The profession John chose to pursue was fiir trader and over 
the next decade his prosperity flourished. 

Responding to the decline of the fiir trade, Bro. Laughton expanded 
his enterprises. A notice in the Western Herald Newspaper outlined his 
next venture: 

The subscriber having taken out an Auctioneer's license for this town 
and vicinity, most respectfully informs the public that he is at all times 
ready to serve them in the disposal of houses, lands, goods, groceries, 
household furniture, cattle, horses, &c. &c. by Auction. The patronage of 
the public is respectfully solicited. John B. Laughton Auctioneer.* 

During the years Bro. Laughton was plying his trade as an auctioneer 
he also purchased an Inn at Sandwich. Many early residents of Sandwich 
frequented that Inn, named The Freemasons Arms. 

John Laughton was also a lifelong member of St. Johns Anglican 
Church, serving as deacon from 1836 to 1840. 

The Patriot Rebellion of 1837-38 helped forge the ftiture of Canada. 
Three significant events from that Rebellion took place along the Detroit 
River, The battle of Pelee Island, The Skumish at Fighting Island and the 
Battle of Windsor. The following is an account of the Battle of Windsor 
written by Colonel Bro. John Prmce, Commander of the local Militia. 

/ have the honour to inform you that yesterday at 6 a.m. an alarm 
was brought here that Windsor was in possession of Brigands and Pirates 
from Michigan. 

Our men discovered about 150 in an Orchard in the rear of Windsor 



234 



THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN BETTON LAUGHTON 

at about 250 yards distant. Captain Sparke's company and a division of 
Captain Bell's company immediately wheeled up and opened a well 
directed fire on them, and at the same time our gallant Militia and 
Volunteers moved rapidly towards their left flank, and opened afire upon 
them also. On receiving these fires, they hastily retreated towards the 
wood, our men following them up in gallant style. On approaching the 
forest I ordered the men to halt and having received information that two 
large bodies of Brigands were seen moving in two directions towards 
Sandwich (which place had been left defenceless and where all our 
provision stores and munitions as well as our only cannon were) we 
formed and marched back to Sandwich in double quick time. On arriving 
there I found that the Brigands had not attacked it, but that they had been 
seen in considerable numbers in the groves at the back of town. I then 
received information that upwards of 300 of the scoundrels were still in 
Windsor. 

The Brigands, I lament to say, murdered in cold blood Dr. Hume, 
Assistant Staff Surgeon, stationed at Sandwich, who unfortunately, 
mistook them for our people, and had walked up to Windsor, to assist 
professionally. He neither molested them nor offered to them any 
resistance. Not content with firing several balls through him, the savages 
stabbed him in many places with their Bowie Knives, and mangled his 
body with an axe. They also murdered a coloured man who refused to join 
them. 

Of the Brigands and Pirates 21 were killed besides 4 who were 
brought in just at the close and immediately after the engagement, all of 
whom I ordered to be shot upon the spot, and which was done 
accordingly. 

I have much gratification in stating that the whole of the Volunteers 
and Militia behaved with the greatest gallantry. Among the former were 
Charles Baby, J. Woods, C As kin Wood and Messrs Grant, Gatfield and 
Laughton.^ 

It would come as no surprise that John Laughton helped defend his 
community against the so-called Brigands. During the many years John 
served as a militiaman, he fought in as many as six battles. 

During the decades from 1812 until 1849, no Masonic Lodge had 
been active on the Canadian side of the River. It was during these dark 
years for masonry that Bro. Laughton joined Zion Lodge No. 1 at Detroit. 

In 1 849 through John Laughton's efforts, a new Masonic Lodge was 
established in Amherstburg, known as Thistle. The Amherstburg Courier 



235 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

detailed the dedication. 

Shortly before three o'clock they formed in procession under the 
direction of Ezra Rood of Detroit Lodge who officiated as Grand Marshal 
on the occasion preceded by the Tyler with drawn sword. A copy of the 
Sacred Scriptures was borne in the procession, according to Masonic 
usage, by the oldest Mason present. On arriving at St. George's Church 
the service was read by Rev. Mack after which the Secretary of the new 
Lodge read a letter of Dispensation from Sir Allan McNab, Grand Master 
of the Provincial Grand Lodge authorizing the formation of a new Lodge. 
The new officers were duly and severally installed into office by Colonel 
Levi Cook Special Deputy of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of 
Michigan and invested with the Jewels appertaining thereto at the same 
time giving each one the charge of his particular office. John Laughton 
was installed as Thistle Lodge's first Master.^ 

In 1 850, residents of Sandwich were anticipating the arrival of the 
Great Western Raih-oad's railhead. That same year W.Bro. Laughton along 
with several other area Masons established Rose Lodge No. 30 at 
Sandwich. 

Fortunately, the minute book from Rose Lodge has survived 
containing an account of the installation. 

The preliminaries necessary and required on the occasion being 
complied with, at two o'clock post meridiem on the said 18'^, ofSeptember 
the procession of all the brothers present was formed and then marched 
from the lodge room and proceeded to St. John's Church in the town of 
Sandwich, where Divine Service was performed by the Rev. Salter and 
Ritchie. Bro. George Bullock was duly installed as the Worshipful Master 
of the Rose Lodge by Jeremiah Moor, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge 
of Michigan. The oration was then delivered by Bro. Ritchie Chaplain of 
the said lodge and Rector of St. John's Church in Sandwich, after which. 
Divine service being ended, the procession returned from the Church to 
the lodge room. And the lodge was then opened in the first degree by the 
Worshipful Master, George Bullock, at three and V2 of the clock, Post 
Meridiem.^ 

It is likely Rose Lodge held their meetings in the Freemasons Arms 
Inn at Sandwich, proprietor John B. Laughton. During the next eight years, 
W.Bro. Laughton was an active member and officer of the Lodge. In July 
of 1 853, his enthusiasm for the craft is mentioned in the Lodge Minutes. 

Moved by Bro. Woodbridge, seconded by Bro. J. A. Wilkinson that 
the thanks of this lodge be given to Bro. Laughton for the magnificent gift 



236 



THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN BETTON LAUGHTON 

of a splendid bible presented by him to the lodge, and for his liberality 
and zeal for the prosperity of Rose Lodge upon all occasions^ 

In 1854, a new lodge was founded in Windsor known as Great 
Western No. 47. Fraternal visits between the two lodges were common; an 
account of one visit can be found in the Windsor Herald. 

The brethren of Great Western Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons 
and many visiting Brethren assembled at the Lodge Room at 7 o'clock for 
the purpose of receiving their Grand Master with Masonic honours. At 
eight p. m. the brethren sat down to a well furnished table supplied by Bro. 
Hutton, of the Windsor Castle. Our space will not allow us to give the 
many interesting speeches made and songs sung. The usual toasts were 
given, amongst which the health of the Very Worshipful Bro. T. Perkins, 
Grand Junior Deacon and the Officers of the Grand Lodge also that of 
the Worshipful Master and Brethren of Rose Lodge, Sandwich."^ 

The Grand Master visiting that evening was William Mercer Wilson 
the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada. What a wonderful 
coincidence, these two Masons having fellowship in Windsor, Laughton, 
who helped establish the 2"*^ Provincial Grand Lodge and William Mercer 
Wilson, who helped establish the Grand Lodge of Canada. 

A notice in the Voice of the Fugitive dated 1852 announced the need 
for 1 ,000 labourers to complete the final section of the Great Western 
Railway into Windsor. With the arrival of the Great Western Railway in 
Windsor, the population shifted from Sandwich spelling a decline in the 
area. With the decline of Sandwich so ended the history of Rose Lodge; 
it closed its doors in 1858 and never reopened them. 

During the next few years Laughton led a quiet life in Sandwich. 

On December 2P^ 1871, an entry from the minute books of Great 
Western Lodge mentions W.Bro. Laughton. 

Bro. Grant gave notice that at the next regular meeting he would 
move that Bro. Laughton, of Sandwich be made an honourary member of 
Great Western Lodge; explaining the motives for so doing and citing such 
services the aged Brother had rendered the order in Canada. '" 

On February 22""* 1 872 the minutes of Great Western Lodge reads as 
follows: 

It was moved by Bro. Grant seconded by Bro. Hall that Bro. 
Laughton be made an honorary member of this lodge. Carried. 

The Worshipful Master ordered the ballot to be passed for Bro. 
Laughton which was taken and upon examination declared in his favour. ^^ 



237 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

Four months later on June 24^*" 1 872, John Laughton once again met 
William Mercer Wilson at the laying of the cornerstone for St. Johns 
Anglican Church at Sandwich. Now in his eighty-third year John Laughton 
would have been one of the senior Masons at that ceremony, standing in 
a place of prominence. 

W.Bro. John Betton Laughton passed away on December 25*^ 1879, 
at Sandwich. Three days later, the members of Great Western Lodge No. 
47 conducted a Masonic fiineral for Bro. Laughton. Details of that fiineral 
service are recorded in the minute book of Great Western Lodge. 

A Special meeting of G.W.47 was opened at 1:45 p.m. The W.M. 
announced the meeting was called to attend the funeral of W.Bro. 
Laughton. They then repaired to the Residence of the deceased Bro. The 
W.M. read that portion of the burial service performed at the house. The 
brethren then formed in procession and marched to the church where 
W.Bro. Caulfield held service after which the remains were deposited in 
the cemetery of Sandwich the W.M. closed the ceremony. The brethren 
then returned to the Lodge. The Lodge was closed in harmony at 4 p.m. '^ 

For the next century, a small limestone tablet marked the final resting 
place of W.Bro. Laughton. As the years and weather took their toll, area 
Masons decided to replace that lone tablet. 

On April 6^^ 1 996, M. W.Bro. C. Edwin Drew, along with area Masons 
unveiled a new granite tablet. The new tablet highlighted the community 
and Masonic accomplishments of our beloved brother. 



238 



THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN BETTON LAUGHTON 

Select Bibliography 

Herrington, Walter S. Foley Roy S. A History of the Grand Lodge A. F. <& A. M. of 
Canada in the Province of Ontario 1855-1955. Toronto, McCalium Press Ltd. 

The Special Committee on the History. Wallace McLeod, Chairman. Whence Come 
We? Freemasonry in Ontario 1764-1980. Hamilton, Masonic Holdings 1980. 

Neal, Frederick. The Township of Sandwich Past and Present published by Frederick 
Neal Sandwich, 1909. 

Douglas, R. Alan. John Prince 1796 to 1870 Toronto Ont., The Champlain Society 
in Co-Operation with the Government of Ontario. University of Toronto Press 1980. 

Mason, Fred E. History of Great Western Lodge No. 47A.F.&A.M.. Windsor, 1953. 

The Amherstburg Courier Newspaper. Amherstburg, 1 849. 

Robertson John R. 77?^ History of Freemasonry in Canada Volume One and Two 
Toronto, 1899. 

Sandwich Western Newspaper. Sandwich, 1838. 

Minute Books of Great Western Lodge No. 47. Windsor, Thistle Lodge No. 34 
Amherstburg, Rose Lodge No. 30 Sandwich, The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province 
of Ontario. Hamilton. 

Minute Books of Zion Lodge No. 1 . Detroit Michigan. The Grand Lodge of Michigan. 

Hayes, James N. An Insight into our Masonic History. Windsor. 

Westgate, Harrison Palmer. St. Johns Church Sandwich Windsor Ont. 1802-1952 
Windsor, Herald Press 1952. 

Worth, Edward Landmarks 1853-1950. Shepherd Printing Co. Chatham, 1950. 

Pearce, Bruce M. The First Grand Master Griffin and Richmond Co. Hamilton. 

The Essex Record Newspaper. Windsor, 1879. 

Voice of the Fugitive Newspaper. Windsor,, 1 852 The Life and Times ofW.Bro. John 
Betton Laughton 



END NOTES 

1. Robertson, John Ross. History of Freemasonry in Canada. Toronto. 1899, Pg. 1 163 

2. Robertson, John Ross. History of Freemasonry in Canada. Toronto, 1 899, Pg. 1 03 1 

3. Robertson, John Ross. History ofFreemasonry in Canada. Toronto, 1 899, Pg. 1 089 

4. Windsor Herald, Aug. 18, 1855. John Betton Laughton Advertisement Auctioneer. 
Windsor, Canada West. 

5. Western Herald and Farmers Magazine, Dec. 5, 1836. Pg. 383 Upper Canada. 

6. Amherstburg Courier, Aug. 25, 1849. Installation of Officers of Thistle Lodge in 
Amherstburg. Pg. 1 , Amherstburg, Canada West 

7. Rose Lodge No. 30 A.F. & A.M. Sandwich, Canada West. Sept. 18, 1850. Minute 
Book. 

8. Rose Lodge No. 30 A.F. & A.M. Sandwich, Upper Canada. July 15, 1853. Minute 
Book 

9. Windsor Herald, March 1 4, 1 856. Great Western Lodge Assemble to Receive Grand 
Master. Pg. 1 . 

10. Great Western Lodge No. 47 A.F. & A.M., Windsor, Dec. 21,1 879. Minute Book. 

11. Great Western Lodge No. 47 A.F. & A.M., Windsor, Feb. 22, 1 872. Minute Book. 

12. Great Western Lodge No. 47 A.F. & A.M., Windsor, Dec. 28, 1 879. Minute Book. 



239 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

REVIEW by R.W.Bro. Duncan J. McFadgen 

Bro. Lotz is to be commended for his research regarding the life and 
times of John Betton Laughton. Quite apparently John Laughton enjoyed 
a rather unique life as a farmer, militiaman, prisoner of war, diplomat, fur- 
trader, auctioneer, innkeeper, and by no means last, a member of the Craft, 
who made a significant contribution to the Fraternity's development in 
Upper Canada. We are indebted to Bro. Lotz for these details of Bro. 
Laughton' s long and active life. 

As I read of Bro. Laughton' s various activities there were several 
questions that came to mind; Is there some explanation for Bro. 
Laughton's membership in Hiram Chapter, Ancaster? Ancaster is some 
considerable distance from Windsor and there is no indication of any other 
Laughton activity in this part of the Province. 

Is there information that would explain why or how Bro. Laughton 
was chosen as the emissary to England regarding the request for the con- 
firmation or appointment of a Provincial Grand Master? 

Who was the Josiah Cushman referred to and what was the 
relationship to Bro. Laughton? 

The Newspaper noted as the Windsor Voice of the Fugitive has a most 
intriguing name; it would be interesting to know how and why it 
originated, and did it survive for any length of time? 

Was the cornerstone laid on June 24, 1872, in St. John's Anglican 
Church a replacement one, or of a new church on the same site as that 
referred to earlier of the church in which Bro. Laughton was a life member 
and a deacon from 1836 to 1840? 

Have Thistle Lodge No. 34, Amherstburg, and Great Western Lodge 
No. 47, Windsor, continued to operate continuously and successftilly since 
1 849 and 1 854 respectively? 

There are several other points that I found to be of particular interest: 

The fact that at one time a brother such as Bro. Laughton could 
receive both the 2"*^ and 3"* degree on the same day. 

The mention of a toast to the health of a V.W.Bro. T. Perkins, Grand 
Junior Deacon in 1 856, caught my attention. Some brethren may not be 
aware that The Heritage Lodge made a contribution toward the marker 
placed in Windsor in 1997 in memory of this Mason. 

From a strictly personal standpoint, the reference to Simon 
McGillivary brought back a very poignant memory. I was privileged to 
have been in Quator Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London England, on Nov. 
1 P\ 1982, when the newly installed Master of the Lodge, our own 
Heritage Lodge member, R.W.Bro. Wallace E. McLeod, gave his 
inaugural address, entitled Simon McGillivary. 



240 



THE EARLY YEARS 
OF ST, JOHN'S LODGE No. 17 

By W.Bro. Frank C. Shearer 

Cobourg Masonic Temple, Cobourg, Ontario 

Saturday, May 5th, 2001 



In the early years of the 19th Century, a number of Masonic Lodges 
emerged in the local area. These included United Lodge of Murray 
Township (Warranted about 1817-18), Mount Moriah of the Township 
of Hope (Warranted March 27, 1811) and North Star Lodge of Hamilton 
Township (Warranted June 18, 1819), which met at Styles Hotel, near the 
present site of the Golden Plough Lodge. Styles Hotel was the head- 
quarters of the Judges and Magistrates holding court in this area. A 
swinging sign in front of the Hotel was adorned with Masonic symbols. 
The membership of North Star embraced many well known brethren of 
Cobourg and vicinity, including W.Bro John Gilchrist and Bros. Caleb 
Mallor>', Mark Bumham, Bamabee McKeys, Thomas Ward and Lewis 
Styles 

The only Lodge from the area to have survived until the present day 
was St John's Lodge of the Township of Haldimand. The Lodge was 
warranted by R. W.Bro William Jarvis on October 4, 1801 and was 
numbered 19 on the register of the First Provincial, Grand Lodge and No 
764 on the register of the Grand Lodge of England. The first Master was 
Bro. Aaron Greeley with Bro. John Grover as Senior Warden and Bro. 
Manchester Eddy in the Junior Warden's chair. Aaron Greeley was a 
surveyor by trade. His wife was Margaret Rogers, daughter of Col. James 
Rogers U.E., Commander of Kings Rangers in the American 
Revolutionary War. Col. Rogers other daughter, Mary Ann, married Col. 
John Peters of the Queens Loyal Rangers and was later sheriff of Hastings 
and Northumberland Counties. Quite possibly he could be the same John 
Peters who was W.M. of St. John's Lodge from 1 806 to 1 808 and in 1 8 1 0. 
The Greeley residence in Haldimand Township was known as The Mills. 
In 1 805 or 1 806 he accepted the position of Surveyor General of Michigan 
Territory and left this area. 



241 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

It appears the Lodge must have gone into darkness about this time as 
in 1 807 Masons residing in Cramahe and Haldimand Townships petitioned 
R.W.Bro. William Jarvis for the erection of a warrant in the Township of 
Haldimand. 

Cramahe 2nd October 1807, Sir, I beg leave to mention to you once 
more, the business respecting a Warrant to open a lodge in the Township 
of Haldimand District of Newcastle. Which was applied for more than a 
year since by a number of Freemasons in the District. And for which we 
should obtain one. We, like good men and true, are anxious to be at work 
that we may contribute to the good of the Craft. Request that we may not 
be kept any longer in suspense but that we will be pleased to let us know 
whether our petition will be answered agreeable to our wishes if not, we 
must we must remain as we are in a state of inactivity, which in fact is 
defeating the Institution of Masonry. I have the honour to be. Sir, Your 
most obedient And Most Humble Servant, Jno Peters. Cramahe, 2nd 
October 1807 

The warrant was issued in the latter part of 1807. Revisions were 
made to the by-laws of 181 1 as follows: 

REVISION and AMENDMENT of a Code of By-Laws, written on the 
fourth day April, in the Year of Our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred 
and Eleven, and of Masonry, Five Thousand Eight Hundred and Eleven, 
at Haldimand, this Twenty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord, 
One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixteen and of Masonry Five 
Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixteen, by the Following Members of 
Saint John's Lodge, chosen as a Committee, by the Members of said 
Lodge: B. John Kelly, B. Joseph, A. Keeler, B Benj'n Ewing, B. Sam 7 S. 
McKening. 

Article 1st. That, Provided any Member or Members, belonging to this 
Lodge, Refusing to sign this Revision, and amendment of By-Laws, they 
are still to be held bound to the Original of 1811. 

That, agreeable to our Warrant, a Lodge of Free and Accepted 
Masons, to be held at our Lodge room. In the Township of Haldimand on 

the Thursday the full of the Moon, on each month, and if the 

Moon should fall on Thursday that shall be the Regular day This Lodge 
shall meet at the hour of four o 'clock in the afternoon That this Lodge 
shall consist of one Master, two Wardens, one Secretary, one Treasurer, 

242 



THE EARLY YEARS OF ST. JOHN'S LODGE No. 17 

two Deacons, two Stewards, one Tyler, and as many members as a 
majority of the Brethren shall think proper. 

In the minutes of about that date are the notations: Lodge to be held 
at the house of John Grover, Inn keeper, Haldimand, John Peters, Esq. 
Master, Thomas Ward, Senior Warden, James Norris, Junior Warden 

In the minutes of the Lodge appears the certificate of Bro. Markam to 
represent the Lodge at the Kingston Convention of 1 820. It reads: We, the 
Worshipful Master and Wardens of St. John Lodge No. Nineteen, do 
certify that Brother Daniel Markam is fully authorized to represent our 
lodge in the Grand Convention to be held at Kingston, on the second 
Monday in February A.M. 5820. Simeon L. Scriture, W.M., Wm. Brunson, 
J. W., Henry Skinner, Sec 'y 

Also from the Secretary, Bro. Henry Skinner, to Bro. John W. 
Ferguson, the Secretary of the Grand Convention at Kingston: 

Haldimand, 21st July J 820. Brother Ferguson: I have the pleasure 
of transmitting to you Three Pounds, Five Shillings, which is due to the 
Grand Convention, From St John's Lodge in Haldimand. Yours with 
respect, H. Skinner, Secretary. 

In the annual return for 1 820, it appears that there were two initiated, 
one made a Fellowcraft and one made a Master Mason. The fee for 
initiation was £1.1 5s. There were 35 members listed There were also 15 
members suspended and eight expelled during 1819 and 1820. It is 
difficult to say what the suspensions were for, although in the minutes of 
April 12, 1 82 1 , there is recorded: A complaint against Brothers Joseph A. 
Keeler and Festus Bennit, for neglecting to attend a summons at the last 
communication. It was signed by John Kelly and Srnieon L. Scripture. 

Under the Second Provincial Grand Lodge in 1 822, St. John's was 
renumbered as No. 1 1 . Meetings were held at Grover's Hotel in Grafton, 
now the site of the Grafton Village Inn. 

In July of 1 825 a letter was received from Brockville Lodge No. 3 
dated July 1st: 

Dear Sirs, I have the honour to transmit you, a copy of certain 
resolutions, entered into by the Brockville Lodge, No. 3, on the 29th, also 
with the request that you will lay the same before your Lodge at their next 



243 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

communication. The measure, I hope will meet with the concurrence, and 
co-operation of every enlightened Brother, which is the sincere wish of 
Dear Sir. Yours Fraternally, E. Rugg (copy) 

At a special Communication ofBrockville Lodge No. 3 in the Town 
of Brockville, on Wednesday, 29th June 1825, the following resolutions 
were passed: 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of the members of this Lodge, that it 
is expedient for the prosperity of the Masonic fraternity at Large, that a 
Grand Visitor be appointed, in order to visit, lecture, and enquire into the 
state of every Lodge respectively, throughout the Province, and otherwise 
to promote views and interests of the Craft. Resolved That, inasmuch as 
it is not in the power of the Provincial Grand Lodge to levy a tax on this, 
or any other Lodge, for the support of a Grand Visitor, this Lodge will 
annually pay into the Treasury of the Provincial Grand Lodge, in four 
equal Quarterly payments in the sum of five shillings, for each and every 
member of this Lodge, and the further sum of five shillings for every 
initiation made therein, commencing from and after the first day of the 
next meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge, to be applied to the support 
of the Grand Visitor, and the purposes contemplated in the foregoing 
resolution. 

Resolved That a correspondence be opened, without delay, with the 
different Lodges in the Province, recommending the measure, proposed 
in the foregoing resolutions, and inviting their co-operation. 

Resolved That a Committee be forthwith appointed to carry the same 
into effect, and that the following persons compose the committee: Bro 
Revd. William Smart, George Mai lock and El is ha Rugg. 

Resolved That the foregoing resolution be signed by the W. Master, 
and Secretary of this Lodge, and that they transmit a copy thereof to the 
Provincial Grand Lodge on the next communication. 

There is no record in our minutes as to whether this request was acted 
upon. The last record found for this period is a report of the Finance 
Committee dated April 20th, 1826, stating that the total sum found in the 
Lodgewas£31.14.7y2 

In September 1 826, a bricklayer named William Morgan disappeared 
near Niagara Falls, N.Y. It was suspected that because he had previously 



244 



THE EARLY YEARS OF ST. JOHN'S LODGE No. 17 

threatened to divulge Masonic secrets, he had been murdered by 
Freemasons. Anti-Masonic feelings in the general population of the U.S. 
and Upper Canada drove most of the Lodges underground. The Provincial 
Grand Lodge held last meeting in 1829. Of the 26 Lodges on its register 
in 1 826, within 1 years, 1 8 either became dormant or ceased to exist. 

St. John's met in a number of locations in Haldimand Township in 
these trying years. Up until 1 826 or 1 828 the Lodge continued to meet at 
Grover's Hotel. In the aftermath of the Morgan Affair, meetings were held 
secretly and at various locations, including the Widow Brown's house at 
the four comers of Wicklow, two miles east of Grafton. At about the same 
time, the furniture of the Lodge was removed in the night to Caleb 
Mallory's house in Hamilton Township, about three miles west of Grafton 
on the present County Road 2. Later W.Bro. John Kelly built a 1 /4-storey 
fi*ame house about 1/4 mile east of Mallory's and fitted out the upper 
storey as a Lodge room. 

The brethren of St John's met in Grafton on February 1 9th 1 844, the 
following members being present: Benjamin Ewing, W.M., Thomas M. 
Spalding, S.W pro tem, Bays M. Eddy, S.W, Josiah White, S.S. pro tem, 
Caleb Mallory, J.S. pro tem. Visiting members present were; Samuel 
Campbell, Clover Bennett, James Canavan, F. S. Clench, Truman 
Loveland, Robert Sligh and Daniel Tucker, all being Master Masons. 
These brethren petitioned to become members, and they and their petitions 
being examined, were duly admitted. It was unanimously agreed that the 
Lodge at its rising adjourn to Cobourg to meet there agreeably and there 
continue during our pleasure, and so began the start of our history in the 
Town of Cobourg. It appears that the Lodge Room was located in the 
Globe Hotel for in the minutes of September 15, 1845, it was moved by 
Bro. Weller, seconded by Lee that a committee be instructed to inform the 
Building Committee of the Globe Hotel that if the new Lodge room be not 
finished by the next regular night of meeting we do not consider ourselves 
bound to take it. Up until 1 852 the room was rented on a yearly basis. As 
of that year a three year lease was signed at a cost of £10 per year. 

A new set of by-laws was adopted on April 21, 1845. The second 
clause read: That agreeable to our Warrant, a Lodge of Free and 
Accepted Masons be held in our Lodge Room, in the town of Cobourg on 
the first Monday next, before the Full of the moon, on each and every 
month, and when ever the Moon shall full on Monday, then that, that be 
the night at hour of half past six in the evening in Summer, and at the 



245 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

hour of five in the afternoon in Winter. 

Fees were set at £1. 1 5.0 for Initiation. £10.0 for Passing to the degree 
of Fellowcraft and £1 .50 for Raising to the degree of a Master Mason. In 
addition. That on every Lodge Night each member shall pay to this Lodge, 
the sum of one shilling and five pence, visiting Brethren the same (the first 
night accepted) to defray the expense of the Lodge, and whether the 
meeting be regular or extra, and at every election night, at which all are 
expected to attend the sum of two shillings and six pence to be paid into 
the funds of the Lodge for the relief of distressed Brethren, which said sum 
of one shilling and three pence and two shillings and six pence, 
respectively are to be paid by each member, whether present or absent, 
also Festival of St. John the Evangelist (whether present or absent). 

The fee for members of another Lodge wishing to affiliate was five 
shillings, and the vote required unanimous consent from the Brethren 
present. Entered Apprentices and Fellowcraft were not allowed to vote on 
any question appertaining to the business of the Lodge. The election of the 
Treasurer and Tyler was to be at the regular monthly meeting in June, and 
the appointment of the other officers and the general Installation was to be 
held on the 24th of the same month (being the Festival of St. John the 
Baptist). Should the Installation date fall on a Sunday, it would be held on 
Monday instead. 

At the meeting of January 20, 1 845 the following letter was written 
into the minutes: Free Masons Hall, London. 23rd Dec. 1844. W. Master, 
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of Oct. last with an order 
for the payment £2. which is placed to the credit of your Lodge for 
Register Fees. In as much as a warrant of confirmations not required, you 
being in possession of the original warrant, and I have recorded its 
removal from Hallimand to the Town ofCobourg. A general alteration of 
the numbers of Lodges took place in 1832 by closing the vacancies 
occasioned by removing from the list those Lodges which had become 
extinct by this your Lodge became No. 497 and you find it so placed on 
the annual calendar. You had therefore better mark the number under the 
present number in the margin of your Warrant thus 764/497 of the names 
mentioned in your letter three only are registered viz, Calet Mallory, 
Benjamin Ewing and J. M. Spalding for the others. Register fees are due. 
The amount will stand thus: 



246 



THE EARLY YEARS OF ST. JOHNS LODGE No. 17 

Members in the list 28 

Then are registered _i 

25 
The register fees for whom at 5/ea. Amount to 

6 pounds 5 

2 pounds Deduct amount now remitted 
£4.5 Due by the Lodge 
I remain W. Master, Yours Fraternally, William H. White, G.S. 
Most of our present furniture was purchased during this time of the 
move to Cobourg. On August 11, 1843, Bro. Clench was asked to make 
three more sofas for use of the sidebenchers based on a pattern he had 
previously produced; at the October meeting he was ordered to make three 
more. These are the sofas the Brethren in the front row are sitting on now. 
It would be interesting to speculate whether they were any more 
comfortable when they were made 1 56 years ago. Also in 1 845, the jewels 
for the Master, Past Master, Wardens, Deacons, Inner Guard, Tyler, 
Treasurer and Secretary were purchased from Brother Sewell in Toronto. 

Probably the most famous Mason from this Lodge is M.W.Bro. 
William Weller, Master of this Lodge in 1855, 1856, 1858 and 1864. 
D.D.G.M. of Ontario District in 1859 and elected Grand Master of The 
Grand Lodge of Canada in 1877. He was the owner of the Weller Stage 
Coach Line that ran between Toronto and Kingston and was the first 
Mayor of Cobourg. In 1 849 he donated a Lewis to the Lodge, the stone of 
which resides beside the Secretary's desk. 

Ontario Lodge, Port Hope, was constituted in July 1 847, and at the 
August meeting of St. John's, it was unanimously passed that the old 
furniture belonging to this Lodge be donated to them. 

Under the Third Provincial Grand Lodge of 1845, St. John's was 
renumbered as No. 5. The English register number changed to 497 as 
noted previously. St. John's received its present number on the Grand 
Register, No. 17, with the union of the Grand Lodge of Canada and the 
Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada in 1858. However, St. John's is indeed 
still the fifth oldest surviving Lodge in Ontario. 

During this era, a dinner and ball were held in honour of St. John the 
Evangelist in late December each year. On December 28, 1 845, The Lodge 
was opened at half past three o'clock p.m. in the first degree and the 



247 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

business of the Lodge attended to at 4 p.m. The Lodge was called from 
labour to refreshment for the space of four hours of which having 
partaken it was again called to labour at 8 o 'clock p. m and the Lodge 
having formed in procession was again called from labour to refreshment 
for the space of three hours and a half for the purpose of celebrating St. 
John's Day by a Ball and Supper of which having partaken, it was again 
called to labour at 12 o 'clock p. m and immediately closed in harmony in 
the first degree at 12 p.m. 

The Feast of St. John the Baptist in June was the traditional 
Installation day and was also usually marked with a celebration. In the 
minutes of June 9, 1851: // was moved by Bro. C.E. Boulton and sec. by 
Br. Richard Ruttan that the members of the Lodge do celebrate the 
approaching festival of St. John the Baptist by having a supper at the 
Globe Hotel upon which Bro. A. MacDonald seconded by Bro. Henry 
Ruttan moved, an amendment that this Lodge being already much 
involved in debt it is inexpedient to incur further liability by having a 
supper on Saint John's Day - after some discussion the original motion 
was carried. 

On 16 May, 1853, // was moved by Bro. Holywell and seconded by 
Bro. Weller that this Lodge celebrate the approaching festival of St. John 
the Baptist by a procession to Church, a sermon to be preached by the 
Rev. Bro. McKenzie after which by a dinner to take place at the Globe 
Hotel, and that the brethren of the Trent Lodge, Belleville Lodge, Port 
Hope Lodge, Peterborough Lodge and Bowmanville Lodge be invited to 
attend which motion was carried, and the society instructed to invite the 
above Lodges accordingly. 

On June 20, 1853: Bros. Weller, Ruttan and McDonald were 
appointed to make the necessary arrangements with regard to the dinner 
to take place on St John's Day. Moved by Bro. Weller and seconded by 
Bro. MacDonald that the Secretary go to Port Hope tomorrow, and if not 
successful there to proceed to Toronto, for the purpose of hiring a Band 
for St John 's Day. On the actual day. Lodge opened at 1 p.m., followed by 
the Installation Ceremony, a procession to St. Andrew's Church for a 
service and sermon, after which the Brethren returned by procession to 
the Lodge room and at 6 p.m. were called from Labour to Refreshment. 
After dinner, they were called back and Lodge closed in Harmony at 10 
p.m. " 



248 



THE EARLY YEARS OF ST. JOHNS LODGE No. 17 

At times it appears the Lodge doubled as a private court of Law. In 
the minutes of October 10, 1853: 

Communications were read from Bros. Lewis and Clench, the one 
from the former being a complaint against Bro. Clench, the latter being 
a reflitation of the same, when Bros. Ruttan, Holywell and Burnham were 
appointed a committee to investigate said charge. 

December 12, 1853: The committee upon the dispute between Bro. 
Lewis and Bro. Clench were not prepared with their report. 

March 13, 1854: Moved by Bro. Corrigal. seed, by Bro. Holywell that 
neither Bro. Lewis nor Bro. Clench be admitted into this Lodge until this 
dispute is settled, 

May 8, 1 854: The committee upon the difference between Bros. Lewis 
and Clench handed in their report to the effect that they could come to no 
conclusion on the subject, and referred the matter to the Lodge. Bro. 
Arnott moved and Bro. Yerington seed, that said report be received. 

Bro. Oliver moved, seed by Bro. Beamish the following resolution 
viz: That the committee appointed upon the case of Bros. Clench and 
Lewis being unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion, resolved that 
until said brethren themselves arrange their private differences, they shall 
remain suspended from the Lodge, and that this resolution be 
communicated to said Brethren. 

December 18, 1855: The letter of suspended Bro. Clench, asking a 
certificate from this Lodge to enable him to enjoy the advantages of 
Masonry in the United States, was taken up and the Secretary was 
requested to call the attention of Bro. Clench to a former resolution of the 
Lodge declining to any further action in the matter until such a time as a 
reconciliation should be affected between him and Bro. Lewis. 

April 14, 1 856, the WM. read a letter which he had the same evening 
received from Bro. Lewis requesting that as suspension might be re- 
considered; which on motion was ordered to lie over till next regular 
communication. 

May 19,1856: // was then moved by Bro. MacDonald and seconded 
by Bro. Ruttan and Resolved: That the Sec. do reply to Bro. Lewis's letter 
by enclosing him a copy of the resolution of this Lodge of 8th May 1854 
and say that until the terms therein stated are complied with the Lodge 
cannot see any reason for departing from that decision. Therefore the 
subject cannot be received unless upon a joint petition from Bros. Lewis 
and Clench to that effect and soliciting re-admission to the Lodge. " 

Happily not all such disputes ended in this manner. From the minutes 
of March 17, 1856: 



249 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

The W.M. read a communication received by him from Bro. Junior 
Warden (Amott) complaining of unmasonic conduct on the part of Bro. 
McMurtry (Steward) and referred the same and the matter in dispute to a 
Committee composed of W.Bro. Bumham W.M., and S.W. W.Bro. W. 
Weller P.M., and Bro. H. Ruttan with instruction to report thereon at next 
regular communication. At the regular meeting on I4th April, 1856 the 
committee appointed to examine and consider the charges made by Bro. 
Jr. Warden Amott against Bro. McMurtry (Steward) reported that these 
Brethren had agreed to let all matters between them hitherto drop and 
recommended the Lodge receive them as heretofore in full fellowship. 
Which report was in motion received and adopted". 

In the days before the vast government-sponsored safety net we 
benefit from today existed, private charity, whether from churches, 
organizations or individuals was the only recourse for those who had fallen 
on hard times. St. John's played its part then, as it does now. From the 
minutes of 31st May, 1852: 

Two communications were laid before the Lodge - viz: one from the 
Provincial Grand Lodge, the other from Bro. T. W. Luard soliciting aid 
for the widow and family of our late Bro. Adoiphus Frederick Morgan of 
the Goderich Union Lodge No. 720 whose sudden demise has left his said 
widow in a state of destitution perfectly deplorable and that the said 
widow has nine fatherless children to support for whom no provision has 
been made (the youngest about 5 months old) and is a very deserving 
object of relief. Moved by Bro. Corrigal and seconded by Bro. P.M. 
Hollowell that as there are no funds in the Treasurer 's hands, with which 
to afford any aid to the widow and family of our late Bro. Morgan a 
committee be appointed to collect subscriptions from individual Masons 
on behalf of the object set forth in Bro. Luard' s communication. The W.M. 
forthwith appointed Bros. Sec. Corrigal and Steward Lewis a committee 
for that purpose. 

On May 16 1853: The Secretary having receivedfrom Bro. Lewis the 
sum of £3.5 being a sum collected by him in aid of the widow of the late 
Bro. Morgan, it was moved and seconded that the Lodge make up this 
sum to £5 and that the same be remitted immediately for the purposes 
designed. 20th of June 1853, A communication was read from the widow 
of the late Bro. Luard, which was ordered to be inserted in the minutes, 
which is as follows: 

Prescott. Canada West, May 19th, 1853. A. Ruttan, Sir, Your letter 
of the 1 7 th inst. addressed to my late husband who was removed from this 
world on the 4th of April last has been received by me, and as I have not 



250 



THE EARLY YEARS OF ST. JOHNS LODGE No. 17 

administered to Mr. Luard's property, the cheque you have enclosed for 
the sum of 5. cannot be used. It is therefore returned to you with heartfelt 
and sincere thanks for the kindness extended to my poor Brother's widow, 
and beg to request it to remit her a draft payable to herself. Her address 
is Mrs. Mary Morgan, widow of the late Colonel Adolphius Frederick 
Morgan, Coder ich, Canada West. If however you prefer sending me a 
draft payable to myself I will remit the money to her, but the former is the 
more direct mode, and the assistance will be most acceptable, as the 
death of my lamented husband has removed from her an active generous 
friend, and I am left in reduced circumstances, and but little able to assist 
her: all I can do however I will do the utmost of my power. I remain Sir, 
Your obt. Servt. Louisa G.S. Luard, Widow of the late J. W Luard Esq. 
Formerly Barrack Master, Prescott. 

The following was likewise read, and ordered to be entered in 
minutes: Coder ich 30 May 1853. Sir: I beg you will convey to the 
members of your Lodge my warmest thanks for a draft for £5 which I 
received last week and which has been duly honored by the Bank in 
London. Never did a gift arrive more opportunely and I hope it is not 
presumption in me when I say that I receive it as an answer to my earnest 
prayer to the God of the widow and fatherless for assistance. May his 
blessing rest upon those who have kept me, and I can assure them that this 
kindness will ever be remembered by myself and family - with feelings of 
the deepest gratitude. I am. Yours truly obliged, Mary Morgan. 

10th October 1853: A circular from the Masonic Board of Relief in 
New Orleans was laid before the Lodge, praying for some assistance for 
the distressed in that City. When it was resolved that the sum of £10 be 
raised by subscription and sent for that purpose. Moved by Bro. Crossan, 
seed, by Bro. Ruttan that the Lodge sends some assistance to Bro. Tigh, 
when £5 was ordered to be paid him. 

12th December 1853: Bro. Henry Ruttan having stated that Bro. 
Tighe was in very indigent circumstances, it was moved by him, seconded 
by Bro. Corragal that the sum of £20 be paid him. Carried. 

On February 1 , 1 873, St John's No. 1 7 moved into the top floor of the 
west wing of Cobourg's new town hall, Victoria Hall. It would be the 
home of St. John's for the next 98 years until a $3,000,000 renovation was 
undertaken in 1972 and a new Lodge would have to be built. Many people 
are aware that St. John's was in Victoria Hall, but few are aware of all of 
its connections with Freemasonry. 

The early plans were drawn up in 1852 and construction was 
estimated at £5,000 ($23,000). Because of their unbounded optimism for 



251 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

Cobourg's future, the citizens asked the architect to draw up plans for a 
building suitable not only for present but future purposes. This resulted 
in a new estimate of £6000 but the final cost when completed, totaled 
£22,000 ($110,000). 

The architect of the project was Kivas Tully (1 820-1905). The son of 
a Royal Navy Commander, he was bom in Queens County, Ireland. He 
was initiated, passed and raised in 1843 at Ancient Union Lodge No. 13, 
Limerick. He immigrated to Toronto in 1 844 where he affiliated with St. 
Andrew's No. 1 (now No. 16). Buildings he designed included the first 
Customs House in Toronto, the first Bank of Montreal at Front and Yonge, 
sections of Osgoode Hall and the St. Catharines Town Hall. In fact, at the 
laying of the cornerstone in St. Catharines he was present not only as the 
architect but also as the Masonic Provincial Grand Superintendent of 
Works, a position he held fi*om 1 846 to 1 849. He was elected W.M. of 
Ionic No. 18 (now No. 25), Toronto on December 27, 1848. King 
Solomon's No. 221 I.C. (now No. 22 G.R.C.) on June 13, 1850. On 
November 1 4 of that same year he was named Grand Senior Warden of 
the Provincial Grand Lodge. In 1 854, he instituted St. David's Lodge No. 
36 I.e. (now working as Vaughan Lodge No. 54 G.R.C). Three years 
later on December 28, 1 857, he was installed as the first master of Wilson 
Lodge No. 48 G.R.C. In the same year, he was elected District Deputy 
Grand Master of Toronto District which at that time included St. John's 
No. 5 (now No. 17), Cobourg. 

On December 1 , 1 856, Cobourg Mayor D'Arcy E. Boulton (initiated 
into St, John's No. 5 in 1 845) issued a proclamation announcing the laying 
of the cornerstone on the 1 8*^. This was later postponed to December 30. 
Some controversy arose within St. John's Lodge over Masonic 
representation at the laying of the cornerstone. From the minutes of 
October 8, 1856: 

Bro. Boulton presented to this Lodge that the town council of 
Cobourg having a desire to lay the cornerstone of the new Town Hall with 
Masonic Honours, had through Bro. Boulton as Worshipiful Mayor of 
Cobourg, erroneously applied to the Grand Master of Canada, inviting 
the Craft under these auspices, to assist at the ceremony, and that having 
ascertained that this course of proceeding is irregular. The Grand Master 
Wilson not being recognized by this Lodge, the town council intimated 
through the Worshipful Mayor Bro. Boulton, that the invitation ofG.M. 
Wilson would be withdrawn, and that the desire was that a grand 
demonstration should take place under the auspices of the Masonic Order 
through this Lodge only. 



252 



THE EARLY YEARS OF ST. JOHN'S LODGE No. 17 

The reason for this was that at that time, St. John's No. 5 was still on 
the register of the Provincial Grand Lodge under Sir Allan MacNab, not 
the Grand Lodge of Canada under William Mercer Wilson. The union of 
the two Grand Lodges would not take place until July 14, 1858. 

Not all of Cobourg's Masons were as enthused about the project. 
Sheriff Henry Ruttan and his son Henry Jones Ruttan, Reeve of Cobourg 
and Warden of the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham were 
instrumental in having a public meeting called for December 9 to discuss 
the building, but their view was defeated. 

The Grand Procession for the cornerstone laying ceremony was lead 
by the Grand Marshall and band, followed by the following societies and 
groups - firemen, St. Patrick's, St. George's, St. Andrew, Citizens, Sons on 
Temperance, Oddfellows, Freemasons, Band, Mayor and Council. 

The ceremony was officiated over by Sir Allan MacNab, Provincial 
Grand Master of Canada West, accompanied by Thomas Gibbs Ridout. 
P.G.M 1845-1847 and appointed Honourary Past Grand Master in 1859. 
Sir Allan was Prime Minister of Canada from 1 854 to 1 856 when he 
resigned due to ill health. 

Mayor Boulton pointed out to Sir Allan that in incorporating the 
several objects of a Masonic Lodge, Town Hall and Court of Justice 
under one roof we desire also to combine in one structure unity of design, 
architectural beauty and skillful workmanship. After the formalities, a 
bottle containing a sovereign, a one dollar bill each from the Bank of 
Montreal and Bank of Toronto, a British shilling, sixpence, penny and 
hal^enny, a copy of the Cobourg Star of December 24 and the Cobourg 
Sun of December 30, a copy of the Globe Pictorial Supplement and 
engraved parchment describing the ceremony and the names of the 
officials connected to the construction were placed in the cornerstone. 

Over the next four years, the building took shape. Worthmgton 
Brothers, Toronto, supplied Cleveland freestone for the exterior. Over the 
main entrance, the emblems of the United Kingdom; the rose, thistle and 
shamrock were carved A bearded face formed the keystone. A pediment 
supported by four Corinthian columns covered the speaker's gallery facing 
the main street. Thirty-four pilasters with Corinthian capitals adorn the rest 
of the building. Rising nearly 50 feet above street level, Victoria Hall is 
surmounted by a clock tower. The interior contained 26 offices; a 
balfroom opera house was situated on the second floor. It measured 45x80 
feet with a 30-foot ceiling. The courtroom in the centre section of the main 
floor was a replica of London England's Old Bailey. 

On September 7, 1 860 Victoria Hall was officially opened by H.R.H. 



253 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII (1841-1910). In 1868, 
the King of Sweden would initiate him into Freemasonry in Stockholm. In 
1875, he was installed as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of 
England. He also served as Master of three lodges. Although the building 
was not quite completed, a Grand Ball was held in the opera house, which 
lasted well into the next morning. 

The foregoing has been made possible by many Masonic Historians, 
both from within St. John's No. 1 7 and from without. They include the 
Brethren who wrote the synopsis dated March 1, 1918, found in the back 
of 1989 St. John's 17 By-Laws (D. Ewing, J.W. Bickie, A.B. Roberts), 
quotes from the minute books for the periods from 1819-1 826 and 1 844- 
1 856 are due to the efforts of W.Bro. John Mannisto of the Grand Lodge 
Library in Hamilton, who sent photocopies of them to our Secretary at the 
time, V. W.Bro. William Marsh. These minutes had originally been copied 
by R. W.Bro. John Ross Robertson for his History of Freemasonry in 
Canada. Other valuable information was assembled by John B. Taylor 
Masonic Historian in Oakville, Ont. and compiled in 1955. A copy of it 
was forwarded to R.W Bro. William H. Broomfield of this Lodge. 

Finally, I must thank the Historians and Lodge Secretaries of St. 
John's No. 1 7 who for the past 200 years have sorted, noted and saved the 
history of this Lodge that we may know from whence we came. 



254 



THE ORIGIN OF MODERN FREEMASONRY 

by W.Bro. Robert L. D. Cooper 

Curator of the Museum and Library, Grand Lodge of Scotland 

Cambridge Masonic Temple, Cambridge, Ontario 

Wednesday, September 19, 2001 



THE OLDEST MASONIC RITUALS IN THE WORLD 

Before we even begin to discuss these rituals it is, I believe, very 
important to examine the context in which these rituals first appear. To do 
this we must go back to the origins of Freemasonry and indeed to the 
Father of Modem Freemasonry - Sir William Schaw, c. 1550-1 602). Much 
has already been written about this man and his famous Statutes so I am 
not going to burden you with a great deal of information but just enough, 
I hope to set the scene. 

William Schaw was probably bom at Sauchie and it is known that he 
was appointed the King's Master of Works to James Vlin 1583. Schaw 
was therefore a member of the Royal Court. This was an important 
position as he was responsible for the mamtenance of all Royal places of 
residence, palaces and castles etc. He was also responsible for the 
construction of new buildings but unfortunately there is only one place 
remaining that we can be sure he built, the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle. 
His duties covered the whole of Scotland and was in contact therefore with 
stonemasons all over the country. 

The Schaw Statutes of 1 598 and 1 599 are most interesting documents 
and are, to all intents and purposes, what we would today describe as 
Health and Safety Regulations. Exactly why Schaw was so interested in 
the welfare of stonemasons is not clear. It may be that he was a genuinely 
good man who was in a position to do something for those not as well off 
as he, or he might have wanted to ensure that all his building projects 
progressed as smoothly as possible and wanted a happy and contented 
workforce. I think, however, that there was more to this man's motives 
than just that, although he might also have had those reasons in mind. It is 
in the Statutes that give us a clue. 

The first item of the Statutes of 1598 states: First, that they observe 
and keep all the good ordinances set down of before concerning the 
privileges of their Craft by their predecessors of good memory. And 
specially That they be tme one to another and live charitably together as 
becomes sworn brethren and companions of craft. 

This suggests that before the Statutes were written Masons had some 



255 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

form of organization, probably quite informal, and that they had traditions 
which were memorized. They appear also to have sworn an oath bmding 
them together. 

The Statutes contain other words and phrases which exist in our ritual 
to this day. 

For example: Entered Prentice, Cowan, Fellow of Craft, Craftsman, 
Wardens, Deacons, Masters, Lodge, Mark, Craft, Hide or conceal 

It is not necessary to explain these but it must be significant that all 
of these are in use today. 

One of the most important parts of the Statutes, in respect of 
ceremonial, is contained with the Second Schaw Statutes of 1599 and 
which states: the Warden of the Lodge . . . shall take trial of the art of 
memory and science thereof of every fellow craft and every apprentice 
according to their vocation and in case that they have lost any point 
thereof. . . pay the penalty as follows for their slothfulness . . . 

Here we have the first known reference to the existence of esoteric 
knowledge with a Lodge. Schaw is quite clear about what he wants done. 
He has created a special rule that demands that every member of the 
Lodge is tested annually in their ability to memorize something. 
Unfortunately, he does not explain what that something is but we can be 
fairly sure that he is referring to Lodge ceremonial because he says that if 
they have lost ANY POINT THEREOF fellows of craft are to be fined 20 
shillings and apprentices 10 shillings. Notice that there is a fine for each 
point of failure so this must have been a fairly lengthy test because if it 
was just about the remembering a word, a grip or a token one fine would 
have been enough. What Schaw seems to be trying to do is have Masons 
memorize ritual, have their ability to recite that ritual, and if they fail on 
certain points they will be hit they where it hurts most, their pockets! 

Again we might ask the question: What motivated Schaw to do this? 
1 think that he did so because he recognized that there was something 
special within the Lodges of stonemasons and wanted to preserve it. But 
why in this manner? Most working men during the 16**' century were 
illiterate and so Schaw knew that there was only one way to be reasonably 
sure that the Masons would learn their ritual by making them memorize it. 
Historians are a pretty conservative lot; requiring evidence in support of 
each assertion and conclusion. I suggest that Schaw knew the 
stonemason's ritual was worth preserving because he had been initiated 
into a Lodge before he wrote the Statutes. How else would he have known 
that the ceremonial, traditions and lore were worth preserving? It seems 
reasonable to conclude that he had been initiated into a Lodge. Whilst I 
acknowledge that this is circumstantial evidence and is speculation there 
is another piece of information that supports that view. The Statutes are 
dated 28"" December: the day after the feast day of St John the Evangelist. 



256 



THE ORIGIN OF MODERN FREEMASONRY 

That feast day is the day that stonemasons traditionally held (and many 
Masonic Lodges still hold) their Annual General Meeting to settle 
financial matters and elect the succeeding year's office-bearers. If Schaw 
was going to impose his new rules on Masons he would not have sent them 
out the day after the annual meeting unless he had already discussed them 
with the Lodge members at a Lodge meeting the day before: the day he 
probably was initiated. 

Here lies, I think, our greatest debt to Sir William Schaw in that he 
formalized, organized, and made permanent the structure of modem 
Freemasonry. Schaw may have conceived a master plan for Scottish 
Lodges with himself in charge but unfortunately he died in 1602. Had he 
lived longer we might have seen more of his plan revealed. Suffice it to 
say that there is much more to Schaw than can be covered here. 

After Schaw' s death Lodge's were essentially leaderless at a national 
level and is probably why Scottish Lodges are so diverse today. They 
appear to have tried to adhere to the Schaw Statutes with varying degrees 
of success but relative isolation ensured that Lodges developed their own 
ways of doing things. In other words they were the same but different! 

We know a little of what Lodges did throughout the hundred years or 
so after the death of Schaw fi'om the minutes of Lodges such as: 
Aitchison's Haven, The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel); Mother 
Kilwinning; The Lodge of Aberdeen; Scoone and Perth; etc., but these tell 
us next to nothing of the form of ceremonial each conducted. The gradual 
admission of non-operative during that time meant that something did leak 
out mto the outer world. There are several tantalizing references to the 
existence of the Mason Word but, as I have already suggested, this was 
likely to have been more than a mere word. Unfortunately then, as now, 
this secret' was viewed as something sinister. 

In 1 696 a significant event took place, someone wrote out the first 
copy of Masonic ritual. This is known as the Edinburgh Register House 
MS. Before I go on to discuss it I think that we need to know a bit about 
why this MS, and several others, have not been discussed by most 
Masonic historians. 

Of all the books on Masonic history few mention sources like the 
ERH MS. Most refer instead to the first printed ritual by Samuel Pritchard 
of London in 1730. As these printed rituals were made available in large 
numbers they were, and are, much more readily available for study. The 
MS rituals are, on the other hand, few in number and difficult to examine. 

When the existence of an entirely speculative Lodge as early as 1 702, 
The Haughfoot Lodge, the membership of which did not, initially, have 
any stonemasons and which had a copy of the ERH MS the implications 
for the idea of a transition theory are clear. 

When this ritual is examined it is unlikely to be recognized as modem 



257 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

ritual. This is because they are not rituals in the sense that we know them 
but are more like aide-memoires or prompt-sheets being a reduced version 
of the complete ritual. This does cause some difficulty as there is little in 
the way of procedure explained and we have to make informed guesses as 
to who was doing what and when. 

The ritual is headed: Some questions that Masons use to put to those 
who have the word before they will acknowledge them. 

There follows 15 questions and answers; Test Questions if you will. 
These are worth discussing: 

I now wish to recite these and provide some explanation as to what 
they mean and their importance in respect of Freemasonry today. 

1 . Are you a Mason? 
Yes. 

2. How shall I know it? 

You shall know it in a time and place convenient (this answer is only 
to be given when non-Masons are present but if there are none you should 
answer by signs tokens and other points of entry. 

3. What is the first point? 

Tell me the first point I'll tell you the second, The first is to heill and 
conceal second, imder no less a pain, which is then cutting of your throat 
for you must make that sign when you say that. 

4. Where were you entered? 
At the Honourable Lodge. 

5. What makes a true and perfect Lodge? 

Seven masters, five entered apprentices, a days journey fi^om a 
burroughs town without bark of dog or crow of cock. 

6. Does no less make a true and perfect Lodge? 
Yes, five Masons and three entered apprentices etc. 

7. Does no less? 

The more the merrier the fewer the better cheer 

8. Wriat is the name of your Lodge? 
Kilwinning 

9. How stands your Lodge? 

East and west as the Temple of Jerusalem. 

10. Where was the first Lodge? 

In the porch of Solomon's Temple 

1 1 . Are there any lights in you Lodge? 

Yes, three the north east, south west and eastern passage. The one 
denotes the master Mason, the other the warden, the third the Fellow Craft. 



258 



THE ORIGIN OF MODERN FREEMASONRY 

\2. Are there any Jewels in your Lodge? 

Yes three, Perpend esler a square pavement and broached thumell 

1 3 . Where shall I find the key of your Lodge? 

Yes (sic lege) Three foot and a half from the Lodge door under a 
perpend ashlar and a green divot. But under the lap of my liver where all 
my secrets of my heart lie. 

14. Which is the key of your Lodge? 
A weel hung tongue. 

15. Where lies the key? 

In the bone box. 

So far all these question are only used to establish if a man is a 
Freemason not what Degree he has attained. There then follow two 
questions to ascertain whether or not the man is a Fellow Craft. The main 
question is: 

How many points of Fellowship are there? 

Five - Foot to Foot, Knee to Knee, Heart to Heart, Hand to Hand and 
Ear to Ear. Then make the sign of fellowship and shake hands and you will 
be acknowledged a true Mason. 

The words are in Kings I, Ch. 7, V. 21 and in Chron. 2 Ch. 3 V. 17. 
That on the right J***** and that on the left B***. 

There is not time to discuss the fiill ritual in detail but I shall pick out 
a few of the more interesting points and try to explain what they mean and 
what relevance they have, if any, to modem Masonic practice. 

Preparation for taking the Oath. 

You are to take the person to take the word upon his knees and after 
a great many ceremonies to fi'ighten him you make him take up the bible 
and laying his right hand on it you are to conjure him to secrecy by 
threatening that if he shall break his oath the sun in the firmament will be 
a witness against him and all the company then present which shall be an 
occasion of his damnation and that likewise the Masons will be sure to 
murder hhn - 

The Oath: By God himself and you shall answer to God when you 
shall stand naked before him, at the great day, you shall not reveal any part 
of what you shall hear or see at this time whether by word nor write nor 
put it in wryte at any time nor draw it with the point of a sword or any 
other instrument upon the snow or sand, nor shall you speak of it but with 
an entered Mason, so help you God. 

After he has been given the signs, words and postures he has to 
address the Lodge thus: 

I am sworn by God and St John, by the Square and Compasses and 
common Judge to attend my Master's service at the honourable Lodge and 



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THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 

to keep the keys thereof under no less a pain than having my . . . then he 
makes the sign again which denotes that ... in case he breaks his word. 

Conclusion: 

What can be deduced from this material? 

1 ) It seems clear that Lodges in Scotland were working a form of 
ceremony before the formation of any Grand Lodges. 

2) That elements of that ceremonial exist in modem Masonic ritual. 
And, 

3) That these earliest forms of ritual might well have derived from a 
single source: possibly the Lodge at Kilwinning. 



The foregoing are the reading notes of Brother Robert L. D. Cooper 
for the lecture delivered on September 18, 2001 in The Heritage Lodge. 

There is a great deal more information regarding the Schaw 
Statutes and early Scottish Freemasonry in the books of Professor 
David Stevenson. 

A second edition of his book. The First Freemasons 
(Scotland's Early Lodges and their Members) has recently been 
published by the Grand Lodge of Scotland (ISBN: 902324 65 9). 
For more details see the Grand Lodge of Scotland Website: 

www.grandlodgescotland, com 



260 



OUR DEPARTED BRETHREN 

We have been notified of the following members of 

The Heritage Lodge No. 730 G.R.C. 

Who have Passed to the Grand Lodge Above 

(since previous publication of names of our deceased) 



CLARENCE ALBERT ''Bert" BELL 

Don Mills 

Huron Bruce Lodge No. 611, Toronto 
July 31, 2001 

WILLIAM ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL 

Brampton 

Ionic Lodge No. 229, Brampton 
June 30, 1999 

FRANK WILLIAM CHISHOLM 

Hornby 

St. Clair Lodge No. 135, Milton 
December Z8, 2000 

HUGH MATHESON DUNLOP 

Chatham 

Syndenham Lodge No. 255, Dresden 
January, 2000 

WALTER PAUL FORD 

Milton 

Astra Lodge No. 682, Weston 
September 14, 2001 



We give thanks for the privilege of knowing them 
and sharing in their lives 



261 



OUR DEPARTED BRETHREN 

We have been notified of the following members of 

The Heritage Lodge No. 730 G.R.C. 

Who have Passed to the Grand Lodge Above 

(since previous publication of names of our deceased) 



DONALD ION 

Brantford 

Reba Lodge No. 515, Brantford 
December 28, 2000 

DUNCAN CAMPBELL LAMOND 

strath roy 

Middlesex Lodge No. 379, llderton 
October 10, 1999 

MALCOLM MacKENZIE 

Bowmanville 

Murray Lodge No. 408, Beaverton 
December 5, 2000 

JOHN CRAIG MASECAR 

Guelph 

Speed Lodge No. 180, Guelph 
August 7, 2001 

PAUL WILLIAM JOHN McNEIL 

Oshawa 

Lebanon Lodge No. 139, Oshawa 
January 11, 2001 



We give thanks for the privilege of knowing them 
and sharing in their lives 



262 



OUR DEPARTED BRETHREN 

We have been notified of the following members of 

The Heritage Lodge No. 730 G.R.C. 

Who have Passed to the Grand Lodge Above 

(since previous publication of names of our deceased) 



DAVID NICHOLLS 

Toronto 

Canada Lodge No. 532, Pickering 
August 30, 2001 

JOHN MORTON PENFOUND 

Oshawa 
Cedar Lodge No. 270, Oshawa 

August 3, 2000 

OLIVER WELHELM DAVID SAYER 

Hagersville 

University Lodge No. 496, Toronto 
December 25, 2000 

GILBERT STOCKLEY 

Scarborough 

Universe Lodge No. 705, Scarborough 
July 24, 2001 



STEWART LAIDLAW THURTELL 

Ingersoll 

King Hiram Lodge No. 37, Ingersoll 
May 12, 2000 

We give thanks for the privilege of knowing them 
and sharing in their lives 



263 



THE HERITAGE LODGE PROCEEDINGS - 2001 




PAST MASTERS 

1977-1978 Jacob Pos 

1979 Keith R. A. Flynn 

1980 Donald G. S. Grinton 

1981 Ronald E. Groshaw 

1982 George E. Zwicker 

1983 Balfour LeGresley 

1984 David C. Bradley 

1985 C.Edwin Drew 

1986 Robert S. Throop 

1987 Albert A. Barker 

1988 Edsel C. Steen* 

1989 Edmund V. Ralph 

1990 Donald B. Kaufman 

1991 Wilfred T. Greenhough* 

1992 Frank G.Dunn 

1993 Stephen H. Maizels 

1994 David G. Fletcher 

1995 Kenneth L. Whiting 

1 996 Larry J. Hostine 

1997 George A. Napper 

1998 Gordon L. Finbow 

1999 P. Raymond Borland 

2000 Donald L. Cosens 



* Deceased 



264 




Jaititatri; ^tfitmkn 21, 1877 
aanftitaM. ttftrrnhn 23. I97B 



THE HERITAGE LODGE OFFICERS - 2001 

Worshipful Master William C. Thompson 705) 786-0405 

Immediate Past Master .... Donald L. Cosens 519) 631-4529 

Senior Warden Donald A. Campbell 905) 471-8641 

Junior Warden Carl M. Miller 905) 728-8638 

Chaplain R. Cerwyn Davies 416) 267-1967 

Treasurer Duncan J. McFadgen 905) 634-7559 

Secretary Samuel Forsythe 905) 831-2076 

Assistant Secretary George F. Moore 519) 846-9100 

Senior Deacon John H. Hough 905) 875-4433 

Junior Deacon Ebrahim Washington 416) 281-3464 

Director of Ceremonies . P. Raymond Borland 519) 579-5075 

Inner Guard W. Douglas Mitchell 613) 472-3618 

Senior Steward Victor V. Cormack 705) 789-4187 

Junior Steward Peter F. Irwin 905) 885-2018 

Organist Donald E. Schatz 705) 292-7414 

Historian George A. Napper 519) 886-9963 

Tyler Raymond S. J. Daniels 519) 578-3815 

Auditors: Kenneth G. Bartlett Raymond D. Bush 

COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN 

Liaskas Paintings/Marketing Edmund V. Ralph 416) 447-4152 

Editor John F. Sutherland 519) 537-2927 

Masonic Information Donald B. Kaufman 519) 893-3526 

Finance Albert A. Barker 519) 756-0684 

Black Creek Masonic Heritage . E. J. Burns Anderson 416) 247-7967 

Annual Banquet Ebrahim Washington 416) 281-3464 

William J. Dunlop Award Donald B. Kaufman 519) 893-3526 

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary C. Edwin Drew 416) 412-2912 

Western Ontario Arthur S. Rake 519) 782-3897 

Regional Central/Northem OntarioGlenn H. Gilpin 705) 466-21 85 

Liaison Eastern Ontario .... Leonard Harrison 705) 750-1309 

Chairmen Toronto Districts . John P. McLaughlin 416) 282-3083 

Niagara/Hamilton Area . E. Warren Lay 905) 563-7609 

Northern Ontario Districts . . . Alex Gray 705) 522-3398 



265